Be Authentic: Create and Cultivate LA 2018

Holy Moly! What a whirlwind of a weekend in Los Angeles. I thought I was going to be able to see some friends and hang out, but honestly, if I wasn’t at the conference, I was laying down! I will say, Friday morning and afternoon I got some work done on my thesis and had a little time to just chill before the madness began.
I had original plans to stay downtown close to the conference but decided to stay in Playa Vista in a house. Best decision ever. Not only was it gorgeous (duh), but it’s in quite possibly the cutest neighborhood ever. Every morning I walked (yes, walked) to Starbucks and Whole Foods for coffee and a few things I’d crave for the day. The less than five-minute walk to Starbucks was awesome. The hour it took to get everywhere was NOT. I mean, seriously, what the hell? And why?! What is the deal?
playa vista
Outside of Starbucks. There were firepits for those chilly mornings. It was 40 degrees every morning in LA. I was ready for the 80s…boy was I mistaken.
Anyway, about the conference…
The happy hour at Rolling Greens was so much fun. We had all the rosé and opportunities to mix and mingle with fellow attendees. Since I was flying solo this trip and obviously had no clue what I was doing, this gave me the opportunity to meet people to hang out with. I ended up meeting Alyssa who is an excellent photographer. I know from personal experience. 🙂 **ahem header photo** We ended up running around the conference together.
Conference Day
I had a VIP ticket and I’m kinda glad I did, cause the swag bag at the end was insane! It was a heavy bag, even for me, and I pride myself on lifting pretty heavy in the gym – thank you very much! Anyway. We started with check-in and breakfast. I had a Noosa and granola with champagne, of course! This was another perk of VIP – you got alcohol all day. General Admission wasn’t served until 7 at the happy hour.
The day was jammed packed with speaks and sessions and lunch and of course, shopping. I attended three of the morning sessions. There were more, but I wanted the opportunity to walk around some of the pop ups without all of the crowd. The first I attended was Body Positivity, followed by “Never Not Posting” with one of my personal favorites, Brittany Xavier of Thirfts and Threads. Now give me a minute to explain. I first stumbled upon Thrifts and Threads early last year. I loved Brittany’s vibe and presence on both Instagram and her blog. I also connected with her hi-lo approach to fashion. As someone who loves mixing high-end accessories with moderately priced outfits, her blog was right up my alley. I could go on and on about Brittany for days, but to not sound like a weirdo I’ll stop. But one more thing, I showcase her in my thesis and she’s an inspiration and I love her! Okay, I’m done. One more thing, I did get to meet her and talk to her in the VIP lounge.
Dani Brittney Thrifts and Threads
Brittany Xavier @thriftsandthreads and me! I gotta get my posing down. lol. I was cheesing super hard.
The next panel session I went to was Keeping It One Million. With speakers like Julia Engel, Arielle Vandenberg (adore her), Nina Dobrev, Aimee Song and Maria Hatzistefanis. I was not missing that. These women have at least a million followers each. Yeah, they’re the truth and had so many insightful things to share. After this final panel session and a failed attempt at reserving a seat for the keynote speakers, I headed back out to the pop-ups once again and ran into (well let’s be honest, I just went up to her) Collins Tuohy Smith. What a doll! She’s just as sweet in person as I thought she would be – and genuine! She was there with her friend Megan and we chatted for a few minutes about the conference and regular blog struggles. Considering I’m a newbie in this game, it was definitely comforting to chat with experienced bloggers to only find out they have the same issues as I do. A little while later was the main event: The Keynote Speakers.
collins tuohy edited
It was so nice meeting @collinstuohysmith in between my stages of hungry and HANGRY.
Here’s where my VIP really came in clutch. The first few rows were reserved for VIPs so I was very happy to be in the third row. First up was Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla with Sophia Rossi. I purchased my ticket when only Lauren had been announced as a keynote. So I was already excited to see her. As someone who is the same age as Lauren (and a former Laguna Beach and Hills lover), I felt a personal connection. Who didn’t cry when LC cried those famous mascara tears, was disgusted at Spencer and always wanted a BFF a la Lo? Was that just me? Am I alone? Anyway, hearing about the development of The Little Market was inspiring and eye-opening. I love how all of the merchandise is handmade by women from different countries, refugees and those right here in the US. LC is a Boss Babe to no end.
LC and Hannah Skvarla
Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla share how they started The Little Market.
Next up was quite possibly my favorite celebrity (and last announced speaker) Chrissy Teigen. She reminds me of that fun bestie that you just laugh and be silly with, but will always speak her mind and build you up. Chrissy – along with Jen Atkin – talked branding, speaking her mind and gave a little hint at her next collaboration. I figured out what it was (she dropped plenty of hints) and I can’t freaking wait! Little does Chrissy know, we are actually soul sisters and long lost best friends. Of course, I had to take a pic of her.
jen atkin chrissy teigen
Chrissy Teigen and Jen Atkin share a laugh on how much Chrissy deletes before posting!
After the first two keynotes, we had to exit the room for happy hour. Here’s where things got a little annoying for me. We hadn’t had a meal since about 11. While there were plenty of snacks and booze for me to consume, baby girl wanted a meal. It was now 7 pm and I was ready for something a little more filling. Lunch (which was around 11 am) had some options available, but I had a nice gluten-free cobb salad with some lemonade from Flower Child. Needless to say, I was starving and the line for food was pretty long. I ended up meeting more cool kids while waiting on some tacos and nachos (score) and of course they ran out before we go there. They were down to chips and no queso (people kept calling cheese. Ummm excuse me? The Texas in me was a little offended) and no tacos. Sigh. Popcorn and and a cocktail it is. By the time I grabbed a few more snacks, it was time for the final keynote.
So I didn’t get as close to the final speaker, but I was in about the 8th row. They added chairs (I think) for this one…because of course everyone wants to see Mrs. Kim Kardashian West.
kim k
Kim Kardashian West
Kim K was the second announced keynote, and I will say I had mixed feelings. She has built an empire, but come on, really? Kim? What’s she gonna tell me to do? Post more selfies? Eye roll. Oh, but I was wrong about her. I will admit it. I was taking notes from Miss Kim, yes I was. There were a few things that she said that I need to heed. To sum it up cause I don’t wanna misquote, you can’t be lazy, don’t make excuses and you have to put in the work. Overall, Kim had some meaningful things to say and I enjoyed hearing her take on life and managing a business. After all, the girl does have a bazillion business ventures.
After Kim spoke, we celebrated the close of an amazing day with a shower of pink, white and gold confetti, turned in our badges, picked up our swag bags and swiftly exited. The VIP swag bag was massive and extremely heavy. If you saw my Instagram Stories, you saw me struggle a little to pick it up. May I also add that I had picked up several freebies, and did a little shopping throughout the day so I was already weighted down. So the addition of this bag provided my weight training for the day. I had so much stuff I had to get creative with my packing. But it ALL came back to Houston. Maybe just not in the original packing. That FabFitFun box I scored as a VIP (oh yeah I got one), I ended up unboxing it all in order to keep my now checked bag under 50 pounds.
A few things that kept being brought up over the course of the day from all of the speakers, it doesn’t happen overnight, be authentic and consistent. Those are the three things I’ll be keeping in mind as I continue this new journey that is According To DK.
Check out Create and Cultivate to see if there’s a pop up happening near year. Next up is Austin at SXSW. Anyone up for a road trip?

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